While brand-new or redesigned models usually steal the spotlight, automakers often use new model years as an opportunity to make subtle revisions to existing products, too. That's certainly the case at BMW this year, which recently released all-new versions of its X3 SUV and sporty 6 Series ? as well as a high-performance 1 Series M model ? but also announced some smaller updates to the rest of its lineup to ring in the 2012 model year.
Starting at $30,950 ? up $1,000 over last year ? the 1-series now gets a standard USB adapter, larger standard wheels and a rear center pass-through for 2012. Additionally, an automatic transmission ? formerly a $1,375 option ? is now available at no cost.
The 3-series also sees its $1,375 automatic transmission option drop to a no-cost choice for 2012, and larger wheels become standard across the board. Otherwise, the 3-series enters 2012 mostly unchanged, except for a lower price on its popular M Sport Package, which features alloy wheels, Alcantara upholstery and chrome exhaust pipes.
The 2012 7-series now features a standard sport steering wheel, rearview camera and USB adapter, as well as 19-inch wheels on all V8 models. Package changes include the addition of side and front-end cameras to the luxury sedan's Driver Assistance Package, and the removal of Active Roll Stabilization from the model's M Sport Package.
For 2012, the X5 receives several new standard features, including a USB adapter, cargo cover and LED headlight rings. Diesel and V8 models now include tinted windows as standard, while a leather-wrapped, power-operated steering wheel has also been added to diesels. Other 2012 changes include the addition of a rearview camera and navigation system to Premium and Convenience packages, heated rear seats to the Weather Package and automatic high beams, heads-up display and side-view camera for the Technology Package.
The aggressively styled X6 SUV receives only minor updates for 2012, including the addition of a standard USB adapter, tinted glass and heated front seats. Option package changes mirror the X5's revisions, except for the Premium Package, which will also add four-zone climate control and rear manual sunshades in addition to a rearview camera and navigation system.
While the sporty Z4 mostly stands pat for 2012 following a 2010 redesign, it too sees the automatic transmission become a no-cost option. Most of BMW's 2012 models will be arriving at dealers within the next few weeks.